Anal Cancer

  • Medical Author: Jay B. Zatzkin, MD, FACP
  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

Quick GuideSTD Diagnosis, Images, Symptoms, Treatment

STD Diagnosis, Images, Symptoms, Treatment

What types of health care professionals diagnose and treat anal cancer?

Anal cancers often need a team of health care professionals that collaborate in the treatment of anal cancers. Usually the doctors on a person's team work out of the same institution or hospital and have had experience in treating cancer patients together. Team members often include two or more of the following doctors:

  • Primary care physician (PCP)
  • General surgeon (best if he or she has special training in colon and rectal disease surgery
  • Radiation oncologist
  • Medical oncologist

These physicians will be able to design a specific treatment protocol that best suits the patient and his or her cancer.

What is the medical treatment for anal cancer?

Anal cancer treatment involves a variety of therapies including surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of these.

Surgery for anal cancer

Historically, all but the smallest anal cancers were treated with a radical surgery called abdominoperineal or AP resection, leading to a permanent end colostomy. About 70% of patients survived more than five years in limited studies of this approach. This is no longer the primary anal cancer treatment of choice. Chemotherapy and radiation without radical surgery are now favored.

A limited resection of small stage I cancers can be curative for these small cancers of the anal margin or perianal skin when the anal sphincter is not involved. Radical resection today is reserved for some cases of residual or recurrent cancer in the anal canal after non-operative treatment. Other nonsurgical approaches (involving chemotherapy with a radiation boost or radioactive seed applications) may be used to avoid colostomy in those circumstances.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/28/2017

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